I’ve had a request to explain the difference between these two frequently confused words. I did post this last December, but for those of you who missed it or need a refresher, here you go:
LIE means to rest or recline.
LAY means to put or place.
When you go to the beach, you LAY your towel on the sand and then LIE on the towel.
Much of the confusion arises because the past tense of LIE is LAY: Yesterday I LAY down after work.
For the present tense (used for something we do regularly, habitually) we say, I always LIE down after work.
And for something you have done in the past and continue to do now, we use the present participle (the verb along with HAS, HAD or HAVE): I always HAVE LAIN down after work. You hate that word, LAIN, don’t you? But it’s correct.
As for LAY, I always LAY the mail on the kitchen table. Yesterday I LAID it there. I always HAVE LAID it on that table.
Now we can lay this topic to rest.